Due procedure followed in awarding Zojila tunnel tender: Govt.

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New Delhi, Jan. 12 (ANI): In the wake of the Congress Party alleging a corruption to the tune of Rs 10,500 crores in the Zojila Tunnel Tendering Process by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the ministry on Tuesday stated that it had followed due procedure while maintaining complete transparency in awarding of the contract for Zojila tunnel.

“The contract was awarded following due diligence after the bid was found technically responsive. Financial bid was opened and the quoted Semi Annuity amount found in line with the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for award of the work,” said the ministry in a statement.

It is further stated that e-Tendering process was adopted for award of Zojila tunnel contract with the mode of BOT (Annuity) and concession period of 22 years, including seven years construction period.

The construction of Zozila tunnel will establish all-weather connectivity from Srinagar to Kargil to Leh of NH 1D (new NH-1).

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The detailed project report (DPR) for Zozila tunnel was prepared in 2012-13.

The project was approved by the Cabinet Committe on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on October 17 with Total Project Cost (TPC) of Rs. 9,090 crore on BOT (Annuity) mode.

The National Security Council (NSC) meeting was held on April 6, 2010 under Chairmanship of the Prime Minister on ‘Border Infrastructure’ development, following which an Empowered Committee on Border Infrastructure (ECBI) has also been constituted under Chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary vide the Cabinet Secretariat OM on June 2, 2010 to monitor the Border Infrastructures projects including Srinagar-Kargil-Leh section.

The development of this road, including construction of this tunnel, is strategically important and hence the strategic construction of this tunnel is enormous.

“The request for quotation (RFQ) was invited in April, 2013 and four agencies purchased the RFQ documents. However, only one agency submitted the RFQ document. Being single tender at RFQ (Technical bid) stage, the tender process was cancelled without going to RFP (Financial stage),” said the ministry, adding, subsequently, RFQ was invited again and four agencies were technically pre-qualified to participation at the RFP stage.

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“Out of this four pre-qualified agencies only one agency participated at RFP (financial stage). Being a single tender, the financial bid was not opened as per the ministry’s Circular No.NH-14019/4/2008-P&M dated 27.04.2008 [Single tender received in first call shall be cancelled without opening the bid and the tender shall be re-invited],” it said.

“Based on the above experience, it was decided to adopt change in system of calling bid i.e. from the two-stage (RFQ & RFP) system to a single stage (RFP) system. Accordingly, a fresh bid adopting single stage (two cover) system for wider participation by the agencies was called.

“Considering the geographical and strategic location of the project, a wider publication through leading newspapers – The Hindu, The Times of India, The Economic Times, Dainik Jagran and Dainik Hindustan – and also through the Ministry of External Affairs to foreign countries, Indian Road Congress, International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineers (IABSE), Ministry of Railways was adopted. Further sufficient time more than 90 days was given (invited on 30th July, 2015 with last date of receiving 2nd November, 2015).

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“In response only one bidder participated. Being a single tender under single stage (two-cover system) was cancelled without opening the bid as per the ministry’s Circular No.NH-14019/4/2008-P&M dated 27.04.2008 [Single tender received in first call shall be cancelled without opening the bid and the tender shall be re-invited].

“Subsequently, tender was re-invited giving the last date for submission of the bid on 10th December, 2015. In response, only single bid was received from IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd. The bid was opened and evaluated. Found technically responsive and its financial bid was opened and found the quoted Semi Annuity amount in line with the approval of CCEA for award of the work,” the ministry stated. (ANI)

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